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Changes to WA’s motor accident compensation scheme

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Media Release

Published on

Leading motor vehicle accident lawyer, Karina Hafford from Slater and Gordon has welcomed the State Government’s consultation paper on a no-fault insurance scheme for Western Australia but expressed concern that there may be cuts to longstanding benefits of innocent road users to pay for the scheme.

The discussion paper proposes two options for a no-fault scheme in this State and calls on Western Australians to have their say.

“Western Australians who are injured in a motor vehicle accident through no fault of their own are entitled to a common law claim to compensate them for medical expenses, economic loss and pain and suffering,” she said.

“It's important to keep in mind that in extending support to those who currently don’t have a common law claim – usually because the accident was their fault – the Government should not reduce benefits or restrict the rights of people who are innocently injured on the roads as a result of the wrongdoing of other drivers.

“A better safety net, for those who are catastrophically injured is an important objective and we hope to see it achieved, but it would be extremely unfair if the rights of innocent road users were lost in order to pay for an extension of benefits to those who may cause an accident through recklessness.”

Ms Hafford said there were still many questions about a possible scheme that needed to be answered and the consultation paper was an important way to get the discussion started.

“As a community, there are still many questions to be asked and answered with this consultation paper. Who should be covered under this scheme? Would it exclude people if the incident involved a criminal activity? Will there be caps on the damages received? What level of injury do they have to sustain? How will it be paid for?,” she said.

“I welcome a discussion about this important legal area, and urge that any no-fault benefits should not come at a cost to the common law rights of innocent people injured through no fault of their own.”

Visit www.icwa.wa.gov.au to have your say.